Marathon, in a deal with the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice, agreed to implement controls on its flares and to cap the amount of waste gas it burns at petroleum refineries. The EPA said that, once the system is implemented, it would reduce air pollutants by about 5,400 tons per year.
"By working with EPA, Marathon helped advance new approaches that reduce air pollution and improve efficiency at its refineries and provide the U.S. with new knowledge to bring similar improvements in air quality to other communities across the nation," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's office of enforcement and compliance assurance, in a statement.
The measure is part of a settlement reached with the EPA. The environmental agency estimates Marathon has spent about $50 million in costs tied to improving the combustion efficiency of its flares. It's saved about $5 million in product recovery from the equipment it's already installed, the EPA said.
In addition to the abatement measures, Marathon, which has its headquarters in Ohio, pays a $460,000 civil penalty to the United States.
"EPA wants companies to flare less, and when they do flare, to fully combust the harmful chemicals found in the waste gas," the agency said in a statement.